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Good Time Girls: Of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush
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Good Time Girls: Of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  295 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
""Good Time Girls" is an important and entertaining addition to gold rush literature. These women are as important a part of the Klondike story as Big Alex and Swiftwater Bill. After all, they too were gold diggers." - Pierre Berton

History has long ignored many of the earliest female pioneers of the Far North - the prostitutes and other "disreputable" women who joined the
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Paperback, 351 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Whitecap Books (first published 1998)
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Jeff Tucker
Aug 28, 2014 Jeff Tucker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The history books tell us that Mrs. T.H. Canham was the first non-native woman to cross Chilkoot Pass into Yukon Territory, but she was actually the first “respectable” woman to make that trek and traveled with her husband in 1888. The first woman to make that dangerous passage was actually a well-known prostitute, “Dutch Kate” Wilson, traveling on her own, in 1887. The discovery of gold in the Klondike region of the Yukon, and later in Alaska, lured thousands of prospectors and adventurers to r ...more
Vicki
Mar 24, 2010 Vicki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vicki by: Marie Nentwich
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erika Monahan
Oct 15, 2016 Erika Monahan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engaging and informative. Picked up at a gas station in Toad River, Yukon. The perfect read for driving the Al-Can.
Melodie
Jan 22, 2017 Melodie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Read a book a couple of years ago called Soiled Doves about prostitution in the old West that I really enjoyed. This one had too much stuff that really was of no interest to me. The stuff about the Gold Rush was info that I skimmed. I was interested in the women, their lives and why they did what they did. Those parts were what I wanted the book for. Not bad, but not really quite what I was looking for.
Sasha
Jun 01, 2012 Sasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every time I travel somewhere,I make a point of reading about places I visit.This time around I happened to be in Alaska and in the heart of "last frontier" where "odds are good but goods are odd" I have found several cute little bookshops in Juneau.My favourite was bookshop called "Rainy Day Books" with cute little old lady inside and I liked the place & atmosphere & name of the shop so much that I returned again and again.

"Good Time Girls" is a excelent book about first wave of gold-m
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Helen
Mar 19, 2016 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book takes you back to the gold rush days of the late 1800s and early 1900s, when fortune seekers headed to Alaska and western Canada--the men to mine gold and the women to mine the miners. It's a sympathetic portrayal of prostitutes, dance hall girls and other entertainers who had limited options for supporting themselves in other ways.

Morgan straddles the line between an academic work and a popular book. The best parts are the wonderful photos and the in depth profiles of some of the wome
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Alexis
Jul 13, 2015 Alexis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time getting into the style this was written in at first, but once I figured that out, it was good fun. I almost could have used more background on the Alaskan frontiers and explications of all the primary source quotes, but the author did a pretty good job fitting enough in and really letting the anecdotes about the women shine.

It really was a different world. It's easy to forget what different personalities flourished in different times. It felt very much like the author was just
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Michelle Wardhaugh
I found this a thoughtful history that showed a great deal of respect for its subject. The role of working women in pioneering this distant and formidable frontier was given its due, and a balanced view was given to both the depths and heights that the actions of these women showed. This book shows a collection of characters no less colorful than the more famous and infamous names of the Old West. There were a lot of illustrative photos that were a vital addition to the text, and I only wished t ...more
Liss Capello
Well, I wasn't sorry I decided not to buy this book and to borrow it from the library instead. Its strongest points are the little biographies and vignettes of individual women who worked as prostitutes in Alaska during the late 1800s - beyond this, it makes an effort to draw a comprehensive picture of how prostitution as an institution shaped the landscape of the society of Alaskan towns, both during the booms and moving forward into the 20th century, but it struggled some by getting bogged dow ...more
Zazzu
Apr 27, 2015 Zazzu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Interesting history. Reading up on whatever I can get for a trip to Alaska. These women lived hard lives, but not all their history was pain and degradation.

Some of these women were damn tough broads who gave as good as they got. The luckier ones even got pretty rich, married out, or retired to more mainstream professions.

One girl who committed suicide though was given some touching memorials--several miners attested to "keeping company" with the girl and sharing a bed, but all denied having r
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Sherry Wyeth
Feb 16, 2013 Sherry Wyeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a really enjoyable read, but I am partial to the Fairbanks area after living there for a few years.
The author tries very hard to condense a lot of information about a lot of women in a short space. That at times makes it a bit frustrating because you want more information about the people you are reading about.
This is a quick read, that I would think you would enjoy if you are interested in women and their role in Alaska's early history. That said it is a book about women who are
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Leandra Vane
Mar 13, 2015 Leandra Vane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a lovely gem. The author, Lael Morgan, covers the good time girls and the far North gold rushes from the late 1800’s to around the 1930’s and into the final decline of prostitution lines in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

I loved this book, but be warned: it is a history book. Some reviewers lament it can be a tedious read, but I found the draw of the colorful characters and heartbreaking trials compelling enough to make it through the dry spots.

A more detailed review may be found on my blog
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Joshua
Mar 23, 2011 Joshua rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked up this book on a recommendation while doing the Seattle Underground tour and thought it would be something about Seattle. Actually it's about the "sporting girls" who pioneered in Alaska and Yukon during the late 1800s and the quasi-respect that the earned during the time. It was an interesting read, but far too many names to keep track of them all. You get the overall sense of what was going on during the Klondike gold rush and the gold rushes that followed in Nome and Fairbanks, and wh ...more
David Johnson
Apologies to the author Lael Morgan, but I could not finish Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush: A Secret History of the Far North.

I was expecting something full of entertaining stories, but the writing style was like an academic paper with copious notes and terse language.

It was not a page-turner for me. Eventually, I returned it to the library.

If you like your stories to be backed up with hard cold facts, and you have an appreciation for the lascivious facets of the US's final front
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Joyce McCombs
Apr 03, 2008 Joyce McCombs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant, behind the scenes look at a hidden part of Alaska's history. I was fascinated by the individual stories of "the girls" as well as the great descriptions of how society (and men!) treated them. The most amazing thing I learned was that there are very few photos that exist of the girls because it wasn't considered polite for them to pose in a studio, and most folks couldn't afford their own cameras. It tickled me to know some "married up" and became staunch foremothers of Fairbanks so ...more
Sue Shipley
May 07, 2016 Sue Shipley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, full of facts and personal stories of the girls of the north. The author ties together many of the stories with the men who owned the dance halls and theaters. Also the men in law enforcement the judges and others. This Book tells of "girls with a heart of gold" with many stories of help to destitute miners and those that fell ill.

The old saying "live fast and die young" certainly applies to many but not all of the girls. Some lived well into their eighties. Wish I had read this bef
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Rachel
Jul 26, 2014 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite what I expected and a little dry in parts for an anything but dry kind of history. I wouldn't necessarily buy this new if I knew what I know now -- but the pictures are truly the gems that bring it all together. Though it was somewhat dry for me in parts, it was only because of the absolute wealth of information. I do love how she gets into specific people and their lives and some chapters are interwoven from people you've met in other chapters. Neat-o for sure!
Bruce
Jan 16, 2011 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Essentially a series of vignettes of women who helped make Alaska what it is today. Many of these demimondaines had been part of the development of the west and just moved north to where the men were. As occurred elsewhere, a few married out of the line; others made investments elsewhere to support them selves; some were killed or committed suicide as a result of love lost. One could argue that Alaska, like Seattle was made a state, in part, by prostitutes.
Lily
Feb 04, 2011 Lily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having grown up in Fairbanks, Alaska I have always been interested in Alaskan history especially the tough women who made the trek over the Chilkoot. Lael Morgan is a very talented writer and has done amazing research in Alaska. If you ever want a fun read about the early settling years must grab this one!
Paula
Oct 01, 2009 Paula rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had some very interesting parts when it would go into more detail about the people. Quite often, it would just mention a name and say how long they lived there and whether or not they married or had a boyfriend. I admit to skimming these sections as they really weren't informative at all. The ones where more info was available were much more interesting.
Heather
Jul 05, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Terrific read that was recommended to me while traveling through Alaska. Well researched, charming and honest. The author brings the taboo and hidden history of the "girls" to the forefront in a respectful and at times, humorous manner. Highly recommend - especially if you plan on traveling through Alaska and the Yukon (lots of interesting historical trivia).
Annette
Aug 06, 2013 Annette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As others have said this book wasn't as exciting as I had hoped. There were a few personal stories that gave enlightenment in the lives of the women at the time but mostly the book is filled with statistics and an account of where people were moving to and from.
I did chuckle at the story of Grace Lowe and the deducting of wages.
Savannah
This interesting stuff and lots of it, but seems to be written to capture the research rather than make it compelling nonfiction pleasure reading. I rather would have liked more discussion, not just a bald report of who went where when and did what. Lots of girls; not so much a good time.
Susanna
M read this before I could get to it and shared quite a lot of it along the way, reading selected chapters and passages aloud here and there. Interesting content! But I felt that I heard the meat of it by proxy so I no longer plan to read it in its entirety.
Jodie
Jan 18, 2013 Jodie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such an interesting read. A great book for anyone who enjoys northern gold mining history. It was so much more than a book on the sex trade, it painted a picture of what life was like in the mining towns.
Laura
Mar 27, 2015 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
There were only about 3 ways that a good-time girl's story went in the Alaska-Yukon mining camps, which is interesting at first but quickly turns predictable. I made it to page 230, and then felt like that was all I wanted to know about the subject.
Tracy
Nov 04, 2008 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s amazing how many women traveled that far north in the most unforgiving weather just to get their groove on. :)

Actually it was a good book that told a true story of some amazing women who were the first to cross the Arctic Circle.
Vera-Nicole
Didn't think this book was as much of the women as it was of the men & the politics of the times during the goldrush. Slightly disappointed, but still made for interesting read as I was up in the area at the time of reading it.
Jax
May 06, 2011 Jax rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this look into prostitution during the Gold Rush. It talks honestly about what these women did and also what the job was and what it wasn't. I recommend it.
Tiffany
Aug 31, 2008 Tiffany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, a very enlightening history of what many women endured to travel to Alaska seeking fortune and adventure.
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“Don't throw your life away because of one man. Don't make yourself something he will always be glad he was rid of. Make yourself something he will wish he had kept.” 10 likes
“It's this way. When a fellow gets out on the creeks, he's so busy and has so much to be thinking about all the time that he doesn't have much chance to worry about women, especially with all the hard physical labor involved,' an old-timer told Marshall. 'It's only when a man's mind hasn't got anything to occupy it and his body's got nothing to get it tired that he can't get along without any women.” 0 likes
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